Monday, June 1, 2009

Theft at Seneca

We finished our day on the Seneca classic, Ecstasy, this past Sunday. Before starting the climb, a couple guys stopped to pick our brains on Candy Corner, asking whether it could be done with a rope that'd been chopped to 45 meters.

The guy doing all the talking was fat, sported tribal tats, a green plug earing, and a backwoods drawl.  I didn't see him climbing anything, let alone on lead. "Good for him," I thought.

He told us they had only a few black diamond camalots, a set of wired nuts and their chopped rope, all distributed between the several bags they were carrying.  I wasn't sure why he was telling us all of this. Meanwhile, the other guy smirked off to the side.

The thought popped in my head halfway up the climb, "Those guys are going to take our stuff."

We cruised the last pitches and rapped The Burn. I chanted in my head, "please be there, please be there," as I rounded the corner.

The scene was exactly as I'd feared. Camera, wallet, keys, ipod, climbing gear and shoes--gone.  My partner's pack remained, but they had taken his shoes.  They took our freaking shoes so we would be slow to follow.

I tore down the stairmaster, crossed the stream and sprinted, barefoot, into town.
The pain in my feet felt good and I couldn't wait to connect with the scum who took my pack.

Town was deserted. A girl walked out of Yokums and stared, no doubt wondering what this barefoot, sweat drenched, crazy-eyed climber was doing in the middle of the street.

Later I gave a police report and wrote notes for the guys at the Gendarme and the climbing school.

Much thanks to those at Yokums last night, and to the guys at the Gendarme who have been spreading the word.

Renters insurance covered everything. Then, the rotund thief and his banjo accompaniment were caught. Tim and I went to the station one Sunday evening on the way home from Seneca for the photo line up. To this day I get small restitution checks from the Pendleton County Police Station. Big thanks to trooper Ware who is the funniest/most intimidating officer I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.